Vistar Insights

Telescope Implant for Age-Related Macular Degeneration at Vistar Eye Center

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) commonly leads to vision loss and legal blindness in adults over the age of 65. This retinal disease can go undetected in its early stages, but advanced stages of AMD can result in severe loss of sight in the central part of vision, leaving what is known as a “blind spot”. The blind spot’s characteristics are different from those in vision loss associated with cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens). AMD cannot be corrected by eyeglasses or even surgery. While peripheral vision remains unaffected by AMD, sight ability is often too low in resolution to accommodate the central vision loss. Unfortunately, there is no cure for AMD and there’s also no way to reverse or stop it once it progresses.

Fortunately, patients with end-state AMD can find some relief through a Telescope Implant. This FDA-approved medical device is designed to improve vision and quality of life for individuals who have reached this stage in AMD. And the procedure is available at Vistar Eye Center.

How does it work?

The implant is inserted surgically in one eye to improve central vision. The other eye steps in to provide peripheral vision for increased overall sight. For patietns with AMD, a Telescope Implant will improve distance and near-sightedness, but it cannot restore vision to its original capacity. For example, many patients find that while their functioning vision has increased, they are unable to drive.

Who are the best candidates for receiving a Telescope Implant?

Your Ophthalmologist will need to confirm that you fit the following criteria:
• You have end-stage AMD caused by either wet or dry AMD
• Drug treatments are no longer effective for you
• You are of proper age and meet vision and cornea health standards
• You have not yet had cataract surgery in the eye where the telescope is to be implanted
In order to establish candidacy for the implant, your Vistar Eye Center ophthalmologists will conduct a test using an external telescope stimulator. This test, in combination with visual training and rehabilitation evaluation visits, will help determine whether the procedure will improve your vision. If the procedure is right for you, your ophthalmologist will consult with you about which eye should bear the implant.

What are the benefits of receiving this implant?

After surgery, patients will find that they can once again enjoy activities, like watching television or reading. Some are able to return to hobbies, like knitting, gardening, and painting. Most importantly, the faces of family, friends, and loved ones will be much clearer! While activities like playing tennis, driving, or seeing a golf ball in flight may not be possible anymore, noticeable improvement in vision can provide a boost in patient morale.

Here’s what one patient had to say about their experience following a telescope implant:

“I now have the feeling of having “a new lease on life.” I was thrilled the first time I realized that I could see the football game on my TV that sits across the room from me. I can walk the 75 yards from my house to the office without having to count steps now. I can locate the soap and shampoo in the shower. The toothpaste lands on the toothbrush versus the sink. I am looking forward to the ability of making further contributions to my family, community and business.”

Only your ophthalmologist can determine if this is the right course of treatment for you. To learn more, contact us to schedule a consultation.